Perfect Golf Alignment Every Time: Setup For Success

Updated May 10, 2022
Jon Rahm with proper alignment
    Jon Rahm perfect alignment highlighted
    Ben Jared/PGA Tour
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Alignment has a significant impact on the success of your golf swing. Achieving perfect golf alignment isn't an easy feat, but there are steps you can take to set up each golf swing for success. With practice and proper execution, perfecting your alignment can produce dramatic improvements in your game.

Using Golf Clubs for Alignment

In this video, Hank Haney shows us the timeless alignment trick of using a pair of golf clubs to get properly aligned. If you're nervous about putting your golf clubs in harm's way, you can always purchase a pair of golf alignment sticks that will serve the same purpose. Here's how to follow Haney's method and dial in your alignment.

alignment railroad tracks drill
    Proper alignment with golf clubs
    larryrains/iStock, octopus182/iStock, Tanya St/iStock
    Getty Image License
  1. Take the two golf clubs and place one along your toe line, pointing toward your target. Place the other just above your golf ball, also pointing toward your target. Think of it like railroad track.
  2. Align these aspects of your body with the club across your toe line: knees, hips, shoulders, eyes, and arms. Aligning these parallel to the left of your target line will get your body in the right place before you even take the club back.
  3. Now, make sure there's a few inches of space between your golf ball and the outside golf club to avoid hitting it at impact. When you line your club up to the golf ball, your club should be aimed squarely at your target.

Alignment vs. Aim

Alignment and aim are two completely different aspects of your golf swing, but one significantly benefits from the other. By using the above video and step-by-step process, you'll get your full body aligned in the proper way to the golf ball. Once your practice and perfect your body alignment, your aim will improve and you'll hit your target more often. 

Think of it like this: Hank Haney shows you two golf clubs in the above process. Once you improve with the club that goes across your toes (your alignment), you'll be able to improve with the club that's above your golf ball (your aim).

Additional Alignment Tips

Here are some additional tips that can help you with your alignment.

Swing Plane

Alignment is about not breaking the swing plane. To visualize this, think of a large pane of sheet glass that is parallel to the angle of your club shaft at set-up. Your swing must remain parallel to this sheet of glass. If you break the swing plane, you have less of a chance to bring the club face squarely into the ball.


Wrist Hinge

A swing on the proper plane can still result in poor contact if you don't execute proper wrist hinge and release the club at the right moment. Well-timed and executed wrist hinge leads to great-feeling, pure strikes.

A great drill to learn the feeling of proper wrist hinge is to hold a book between your hands with the spine pointed down to the ground, and make a turn back and through. Keep the spine of the book pointed towards the ground through your turn and feel the end of the book point 180-degrees from your target at the end of your back turn, and pointed to your target on your through turn. This will train your wrists the proper motion during the golf swing.

If you notice your wrists want to turn the spine of the book up and point the cover of the book towards the sky as you turn back, you've got some work to do with your wrist hinge. If you have a slice, fixing this move will likely fix your slice.



You set yourself up for a wayward shot if you incorrectly position your body to the ball at set-up. Be sure your club face is square to the ball. The bottom of your club head must stay parallel with the ground. Make sure the toe and heel of the club are both on the ground at address.

You stand different distances away from the golf ball depending on which club you're using. The longer the club, the farther you must stand from the ball.


Your spine is the rotational axis of your swing. It must never move until you complete the swing. Any swaying, sliding or shifting of the spine throws your club out of alignment and off the swing plane.

Moving your spine during your swing moves the low point of your swing. If your low point is not at the ball, you're bound to hit a frustrating fat or thin shot.



Proper golf alignment is often overlooked by amateur players. Give this part of your golf swing some attention and range time, and watch your greens-in-regulation improve. After all, no golfer has ever complained about hitting more targets and lowering their score.